Folks who know me, know that I like building American Cars, particularly hot rods and lowriders. There is something about the rounded curves and substantial metalwork that gives them a feeling of enduring strength. Anyway, my buddy came around the other evening with this suspicious looking brown paper bag and coolly announced, “Here’s a challenge for you. It’s time that you get out of your rut and build something modern!”
With that, he gave me the contents of the bag and a hollow, empty feeling engulfed me. In my trembling hands I held a Fujimi Skyline. Not only was it MODERN, it was JAPANESE. My first reaction was to drive a wooden stake through its transmission and fling it into the corner, but there is one thing that I relish more than a ‘32 Highboy, and that is a challenge! So, in a moment of weakness, I decided to …
Build a Modern!
To get the mood going, I procured some suitable refreshments, stuck some Tatu on the player and set to with enthusiasm.
I examined the body carefully and noticed that the left hand side B‑pillar had a bit of flash on it. So, out with the trusty X‑Acto and carefully trim it. Damn it!!! The knife went straight through the plastic. Why can’t the Japanese build cars with thicker pillars, like a ‘40 Ford Coupe for instance? Oh well, there was only one thing for it now – remove both pillars and make it a Hardtop!
I must admit, it looked much better as a Hardtop. Perhaps this would turn out OK after all. The next job was to rescribe the rear window surround, as the kit’s is lightly scribed and would disappear under a few coats of lacquer. The back of the X‑acto is great for this. Halfway across the top, I felt a searing pain in my left thumb and on the table top was a one inch strip of window surround lying in a pool of fresh blood! What do they make these kits out of? Tracing paper? I was not going to glue it back, so we better make it a convertible. Out with the razor saw and two minutes later, hey presto, a Skyline Convertible! And it actually looks much cooler than the boring old coupe!
Time to change the CD. Crunch! What is that under my left foot? Surely not a cockroach? I slowly lifted my size 13, bracing myself for the gooey mess! There, looking like a white styrene roach, was the Skyline s front bumper – now a seven‑piece assembly! This thing is more fragile than a schoolgirl’s heart on prom night! There was only one solution… aero kit! One hour and half an acre of styrene sheet later, the Skyline had an aero kit that would have Mr Veilside turning metallic green with envy!
The next job was to shorten the front struts a bit, to give the car a lower stance. As I made the first cut, I dropped the sprue cutter and it went plummeting down, straight through the rear wing and embedded itself in the trunk lid. At this stage, I wished aloud that Mr Fujimi had been run down by the Bullet Train on the very morning that he decided that the world needed another Skyline kit! Perhaps a bit of accident damage would give the model some character! Nothing too drastic, just a few soldering iron dents in the trunk lid and right rear fender. Umm, not too bad!
Time to paint. A nice pearl yellow should look great. Half an aerosol tin later, the colour looked smart, except that I could not get a shine out of it, no matter how wet I sprayed it. Out of desperation, I decided that this needed to be a bracket racer, where a less-than-glossy paint job would be acceptable. Besides, I still have the decals from that Rain‑Ex Camaro, which would look great on the Skyline body shape!
While the paint dries, I better separate the windshield from the rest of the glasshouse. Before I even got a tenth of the way with the razor saw, the windshield committed suicide and shattered into about twenty pieces. I now knew that the Skyline was Japan’s revenge for Hiroshima. Building this thing was worse than getting a root-canal! But I was determined that it will not get the better of me. Without a windshield, I could still build a stock car! It would just need a nice substantial rollcage fashioned from sprue!
The paint had settled nicely into a patchy flat pearl yellow, but it was not drying. I sincerely wished that all Japanese paint technicians would poison themselves with bad sushi! So out with the 100w reading lamp over the body, while I go in search of a few Prozac to calm my nerves! Ten minutes later, I was back. On my workbench, in a cloud of styrene fumes, was a Skyline that would make a GT40 look like a double‑decker bus! All the knife‑edge creases were now gentle curves and the whole body had given itself a ten inch section that George Barris would be proud of. But at least the paint was dry!
But I was not giving up … I had a plan! I roughly glued the whole thing together, put it into a tin foil pie dish, poured a tot of thinners over it, stood back and threw a match at it! Whuuufff!!! I calmly counted to ten and then nailed it with the fire extinguisher.
Lifting it gently with a pair of barbeque tongs, it put it on a display base and scribbled with a permanent marker, “Nissan Skyline – Back streets of Miami”. It actually looked quite cool. I was starting to feel better already!
It was 4.30 in the morning, but could not resist! I phoned my pal and, when he wearily answered the phone, I giggled and shrieked, “I’ve done it – I’ve built a modern!”
Until next time….
Take your medication!